Sun, Dec 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan donates to feed Burmese refugee children

A HELPING HAND:A two-year program will provide free lunches to about 3,800 children in Thailand who cannot yet return to their homeland despite reforms

Staff writer, with CNA, BANGKOK

Taiwan has donated funds to a charity program aimed at giving nutritious lunches to preschool children in refugee camps along the Thailand-Myanmar border, Taiwan’s representative office in Thailand said on Friday.

Henry Chen (陳銘政), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand, signed a cooperation agreement on Friday with Thailand Burmese Border Consortium (TBC) executive director Sally Thompson on behalf of the government, the office said.

In the agreement, the government promised US$160,000 for the two-year program starting next year, which will be jointly carried out by the TBC and the Taipei Overseas Peace Service operated by the Taiwan-based Chinese Association for Human Rights.

About 3,800 children at more than 40 preschool centers in three refugee camps in Tak Province will benefit from the free lunch program, the office said.

Expressing thanks for the donation, Thompson said Taiwan was the only country in Asia that supported TBC-initiated programs. Refugees along the border were very thankful, she said.

Apart from the government aid, Taiwanese businesses in Thailand have also donated money and supplies to the Thailand-Myanmar border refugee camps, Chen said.

However, the donations are still not enough, said Kevin Lee (李榮源), head of the Taipei Overseas Peace Service team stationed in Thailand. He said he wished there were civil organizations that could regularly provide financial aid to support the refugee camp preschools.

Meanwhile, Thompson said that although the military regime in Myanmar has begun promoting political reforms, the Burmese refugees must stay in the refugee camps until there is true and lasting peace.

It is still not certain when they will be able to return to their homeland, Thompson said.

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